MARY ELIZABETH “LIZ” (STUEN) WILLIS

Mary Elizabeth “Liz” (Stuen) Willis of Auburn, WA passed away on February 26, 2017 in Puyallup, WA.

She was born in Parkland, WA on September 10, 1919 and grew up on what is presently the site of Stuen Hall on the Pacific Lutheran University campus. In addition to her parents, Ole Johnson Stuen, and Agnes Christina Theodora (Hougen) Stuen, she lived with her three siblings, Oliver John Stuen, Marcus R. Stuen, and Anita Louise Potthoff, as well as an aunt, Esther Davis, and cousins George and Virginia Davis. Her father, who emigrated from Norway as a young man, was an early professor and librarian at Pacific Lutheran.

On June 7, 1947, Liz married the love of her life, Howard Bruce Willis, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Parkland, several months after they met at a campus bonfire.

Liz received four various degrees from Pacific Lutheran. She followed her older brothers in enlisting during WWII, serving in the WAVES on the east coast. She worked as a grade school teacher, raised her family and then became a school librarian, working until her retirement from the Algona Pacific School District.

Howard and Liz kept a well-manicured yard, and enjoyed sharing the abundance from their carefully tended vegetable garden. They loved sharing cocktail hour with dear Auburn friends, and the backyard patio was a favorite gathering place. Many hours of multi-family fun were spent on the shores of Puget Sound, and after retirement they enjoyed travels to visit family around the country as well as journeys to Europe.

Liz enjoyed needlework, was a whiz at crossword puzzles, and was competitive at bridge and other card games. She was a passionate reader, staying up late into the night to finish her books.

She was a member of Children’s Orthopedic Bridge Guild, P.E.O, and was an active member of Messiah Lutheran Church.

Liz was proud of her four children, all of Washington State; Virginia Lizette Cordts (Stuart), Howard Bruce Willis, Jr. (Ann), Mark Stanley Willis (Kim), and Brett Richard Willis (Connie). “Oma” will be remembered lovingly by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She is survived by her sister, Anita and was predeceased by her parents, brothers, and husband, Howard.

Liz savored life, made a positive impact on people, and was resolutely content. She was grateful to live into her mid-nineties and attended by family and friends, she fell peacefully asleep and passed into her eternal rest.

Her family is warmly appreciative of her friend Maxine Morris, as well as her friends and staff at Rise & Shine Adult Family Home, Puyallup.

Her memorial service will be held at Messiah Lutheran in Auburn on Saturday, April 8th at 10:30am.

She was proud of her family’s multigenerational PLU legacy. Memorials in her name can be made to Pacific Lutheran University, Office of Development, Tacoma, WA 98447.

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